UA Department of History
Fall 2020 Course Descriptions
Note: There are no prerequisites for any courses in History. 300-level courses cap at 40 students and are lecture based. 400-level courses cap at 30 students, are discussion based, and usually have the “W” designation (double check below). 300 and 400-level courses have roughly the same workload.
HY 101 Western Civilization to 1648. A history of Western civilization from its origins in Greece and Rome through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Reformation, and the age of discovery and expansion during the emergence of modern Europe.
HY 102 Western Civilization Since 1648. Covers the development if the Western world from the Thirty Years’ War to the post-World War II era; the age of absolutism, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, industrialization and the wars of the 20th century.
HY 103 American Civilization to 1865. A survey of American history from its beginning to the end of the Civil War, giving special emphasis to the events, people, and ideas that have made America a distinctive civilization.
HY 104 American Civilization Since 1865. A survey of American history from the Civil War to the present, giving special emphasis to the events, people, and ideas that have made America a distinctive civilization.
HY 105 Honors Western Civilization to 1648. A history of Western civilization from its origins in Greece and Rome through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Reformation, and the age of discovery and expansion during the emergence of modern Europe.
HY 106 Honors Western Civilization Since 1648. Covers the development of the Western world from the Thirty Years’ War to the post–World War II era: the age of absolutism, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution, industrialization, and the wars of the 20th century.
HY 107 Honors American Civilization to 1865. An honors-level approach to the American experience. Prerequisite(s): Invitation of the department or membership in the University Honors Program.
HY 108 Honors American Civilization since 1865. An honors-level approach to the American experience. Prerequisite(s): Invitation of the department or membership in the University Honors Program.
HY 111 Colonial Latin America. Professor Steven Bunker. MWF 9-9:50. Formation of the largely Spanish speaking New World, from the shock of conquest to the trials of freedom that spawned the modern nations of Latin America.
HY 113 Asian Civilization to 1400. Professor Di Luo. MWF 9-9:50. Broad survey of Asian civilization from the earliest times covering India, China, Korea, Japan and Southeast Asian, with large cultural and religious emphases.
HY 115 Science/Medicine to 1800. Professor Erik Peterson. Lecture MW 11-11:50. Also requires a recitation: R 8, R 11, F 8, F 10. Science and technology are ever-present in today’s world, defining not only how we live our daily lives but also shaping our conceptions and evaluations of modernity, civilization, and progress. How did science and technology become so important and pervasive to the modem world? This course is intended as an introduction to the history of modem science and technology from the enlightenment to the present. Our focus will be on the development of science and technology in the Western World (Europe and North America). However, we will also make comparisons across cultures to explore how science and technology shaped notions of what counts as “Western” and “modem.” In addition to learning about key developments in the history of science and technology, from Ford’s Model-T to Einstein’s theory of relativity, we will address larger themes, including the relationship between science and religion and the role of technology in war and empire.
HY 117-001 World History to 1500. Professor Patrick Hurley. MWF 1-1:50. This survey course explores the history of several major parts of the world and their perspective histories from the earliest times to AD 1500. Such exploration will include studies of the Mediterranean and Near East, China, India, Mesoamerica, and Sub-Saharan Africa. When examining these topics, attention will be given to social, economic, and religious history as well as political history.
HY 117-320 World History to 1500. Professor John Alexander. M 6-8:30. This survey course explores the history of several major parts of the world and their perspective histories from the earliest times to AD 1500. Such exploration will include studies of the Mediterranean and Near East, China, India, Mesoamerica, and Sub-Saharan Africa. When examining these topics, attention will be given to social, economic, and religious history as well as political history.
HY 225 History of Alabama to 1865. Professor David Durham. TR 2-3:15. This course offers a survey of Alabama history from the earliest settlements through the Civil War. The emphasis of the lectures and readings will be on major themes and trends throughout the period such as the contributions of indigenous peoples, colonial development, economic opportunity, republican democracy, religion, slavery, political parties, sectionalism, and war.
HY 306-001 U.S. History (1917-1945) Professor David Beito. TR 12:30-1:45. This is a survey of U.S. history from World War I to World War II with an emphasis on the role of politics, popular culture, and economic change.
HY 308 Colonial America. Professor Harold Selesky. TR 12:30-1:45. This course examines the ways in which Europeans created new societies on the North American mainland in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The focus is on two parts of the Atlantic world in which the dominant culture was English. In the Chesapeake the theme is the rise of African-descended chattel slavery, and in New England it is the evolution of Puritan religion. Attention will also be paid to the diverse societies that arose in New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and New France. The course has two goals. The first is to increase your understanding of the societies that immigrants from the Old World created in the New World. The second is to examine, through a critical reading of both primary and secondary sources, how we know what we think we know about these societies; readers must pay careful attention to how the historian is seeking to persuade you of the probity and accuracy of his or her vision of the past. Both aspects of the course depend on you reading, thinking about, and absorbing the assigned material before we deal with it in class.
HY 311 Antebellum America. Professor Sharony Green. R 3-5:30. Students will explore the antebellum period as an era of great change in the United State. Between 1820 and 1860, we witness the rise of the “city” and expanding frontiers. Antebellum America, 1846-1861 examines the divisive political, social, and economic forces which intensified in the 1840s and culminated in the Civil War. Through a study of the primary and secondary literature of American history this course surveys the individuals and groups who influenced the American experience, as well as the cultural, political, and socio-economic movements that shaped the nation.
HY 315 The Civil War. Professor Lesley Gordon. TR 11-12:15. This course takes a chronological and thematic approach to explore the American Civil War’s complex meaning to past and present Americans. We will discuss traditional military and political aspects of the conflict, as well as racial, social, gender and cultural dimensions. Reading and writing are central components of this course, but we will also watch and critically assess popular movies, historical documentaries and YouTube videos.
HY 323 US Constitutional History to 1877. Professor Lawrence Capello. TR 12:30-1:45. Deals with the evolution of constitutional law and the nature and process of judicial review, including 18th-century constitutional theory and Supreme Court decisions.
HY 325 US –World Power to 1898. Professor Sarah Steinbock-Pratt. MWF 1-1:50. This course will examine the history of the United States in a global context. From its colonial origins to its emergence as an imperial power at the end of the nineteenth century, the US has always been part of international networks of empire, migration, trade, and warfare. Through assigned readings, lectures, and class discussions, students will explore the transnational movement of people, ideas, and goods, territorial conquest and nation building, ways that ideas about gender, race, and national identity influenced foreign and domestic policies, and the rise and refashioning of the nation’s role in the world.
HY 332 Native American History. Professor Heather Kopelson. MWF 9-9:50. Examines the histories of hundreds of indigenous American peoples from early human habitation to the present day, with a focus on those residing in what is now the United States and Canada. We will study their experiences; their encounters with one another, Europeans, and Africans; and the different histories that people have told about those experiences and encounters. Class materials include art, film, and fiction and students will volunteer at the Moundville Festival in October.
HY 337 Foodways in American History. Professor Charles P. Clark. MWF 10-10:50. American Foodways will use food and the cultural meanings surrounding it to examine American history from the colonial era to the present day. Everyone eats, but the ways in which they did so and the meanings of various groups ascribed to their food will provide a set of viewpoints on our shared past. There will be an experimental component to the class, mainly in the form of food and tastings.
HY 338 History of Contemporary China. Professor Di Luo. TR 12:30-1:45. This course provides a general but analytic introduction to the development of contemporary China from 1921, when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was founded, to 1949 when the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was founded, and on towards the present, concluding around the year 2000. We will review key historical phenomena that distinguish contemporary China, particularly Marxist and Stalinist theories and their use by the CCP in varying circumstances not only to purse and carry out political revolution (1921-1949) but also political-economic developments after 1949. Such developments initially involved PRC state formation via agricultural transformation & large-scale Soviet-style industrialization accompanied by bureaucratization, the oppositional anti-bureaucratic thrust that eventually produced the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), the rebuilding of both the CCP & PRC after Mao’s death in 1976, the “second Communist Revolution” after 1978 associated with Deng Xiaoping, and the places of “intellectuals” in all of this.
HY 352 The Right to Privacy. Professor Lawrence Cappello. TR 9:30-10:45. Explores the history of the right to privacy in the United States from the 1890s through the digital age. Major themes include the evolution of privacy law, tabloid journalism, physical surveillance, private property, “big data,” sexual privacy, the “privacy vs. national security” debate, and the relationship between privacy and technology.
HY 356 Holocaust: History, Memory. Professor Janek Wasserman. TR 9:30-10:45. This course explores how and why the murder of millions of Jews, Sinti and Roma, homosexuals and others was carried out by the National Socialists and their allies. It looks at the emergence of racial theory and anti-Semitism, the role of WWI and the Great Depression, and the conditions during WWII as key themes. The second half of the class looks at how the Holocaust has been remembered (and forgotten) in different national contexts.
HY 357 World War I. Professor Charles P. Clark. MW 12-12:50. This class will also have recitations; R 11, R 12, F 9, F 10. World War I deals with the social, cultural, and economic aspects of the war, the role that technology played in the outcome, and the impact of the war on the world today. Students write two six to eight page comparative papers, identify important images from the war, and write in-class essays to assess understanding.
HY 361 Russia to 1894. Professor Margaret Peacock. TR 11-12:15. Political history of Russia from the 9th to the 19th centuries, followed by social and cultural history of the Russian revolutionary movement.
HY 368 Caribbean History since 1492. Professor Jenny Shaw. MWF 9-9:50. Conquistadors! Planters! Pirates! Indians! Enslaved Africans! Religious Reformers! Independence Leaders! Radical Revolutionaries! Together these people built a new world – a world forged at the intersection of imperial ambitions and international contact, where the peoples and cultures of the Americas, Africa, and Europe collided. This class examines how colonialism, plantation slavery, the age of abolition, the emergence of national independence movements, and the impact of climate and environment made the modern Caribbean.
HY 378 Drugs, Booze & Mexican Society. Professor Steven Bunker. MWF 11-11:50. This course is a hybrid survey of Mexican history since conquest, the history of the US-Mexican border, and a view of that history through the lens of drug production, consumption, and influence on Mexican society and US-Mexican relations. In short, the goal of this course is to impart an understanding of drugs as embedded in Mexican social, political, economic, and cultural contexts, providing students with a view from the Mexican side of the border. Alcohol and marijuana will be the focus of the course, but other substances will enter into certain readings throughout the semester. An important theme in this course is to answer the question “What are the origins of today’s War on Drugs?” In addition, the course will endeavor to provide a broader, international context for the development and use of intoxicants and the drug trade, both legal and illegal.
HY 384 Ancient Egypt Near East. Professor Patrick Hurley. MWF 10-10:50. This course focuses on the history of Egypt and the Nile Valley from the earliest times through to the fall of the New Kingdom at the beginning of the first millennium BC, continuing through to the conquest of that land by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC. While this course will focus mainly on the history of the Egyptian part of the Nile Valley, the history of Egypt’s relations with foreign nations will also be examined. It will also look at the socio-economic as well as religious history of the region, with emphasis given on how Egyptian society and culture persisted through despite times of upheaval and change.
HY 386 History of Rome. Professor Patrick Hurley. MWF 2:00-2:50. This course explores the history of Rome from the founding of the city to the rise of the Empire and beyond. Special attention will be paid to the individuals, institutions, and customs that contributed to the development of a distinctive Roman identity.
HY 388 The Crusades. TBA MW 3:30-4:45. This course explores, from multiple perspectives, the troubled medieval marriage of religion and violence known as “the crusades.” It offers not only an overview of the traditional, largely military narrative of “numbered” crusades. It also explores the broader view – the general context of “holy war” down to c. 1100; tensions between the ideal and reality of crusading; the social and cultural impact of the crusades, for good and ill; the Muslim perception of the “Franj” as both invaders and neighbors, and the long afterlife of the crusades down through the early modern period. Later sessions of the course then turn to the range of contested historiographical issues that have characterized the study of the crusades in recent years. There are no pre-requisites for the course, though completion of our introductory Western Civilization course (HY 101/105) would be helpful.
HY 394 The Historian’s Craft. Professor Margaret Peacock. R 3:00-5:30. Students will leave this course with the basic skills needed to work as historical researchers and editors in the worlds of think tanks, government service, strategic analysis, marketing, policy, and consulting. The first half of the course is spent with students working as historical researchers on an issue that is of significance in the modern policy world. Students spend the second half of the course working as editors on the staff of The Crimson Historical Review, the Department’s undergraduate research journal. Students will examine issues of context and causation, truth and subjectivity, and how to be a skeptical consumer of information. All students in this class will gain experiential learning that can open doors for future employment. This course will count as a History elective by default, but it can meet differing geographic requirements for the History Major depending on the topic of the student’s research. Students should consult with Dr. Peacock before enrolling if they want this option.
HY 404 Modern China Since 1600. Professor Di Luo. MW 3:00-4:15. This course provides a general but analytic survey of the history of China from the 17th to the 20th century. After a brief introduction to China’s geography, languages, and cultural background, we will discuss key historical phenomena that have distinguished China’s evolution in the modern period. The course is organized around the paired themes of non-Chinese attempts to challenge or undermine China’s sovereignty and Chinese responses to those efforts, partly and especially since 1895 to achieve wealth and power for their nation. For this reason, emphasis is placed on political, military, and social developments, although some attention is also given to economic and intellectual ones.
HY 406-001 (W) History of American Politics since 1960. Professor Kari Frederickson. MWF 2:00-2:50. This course will focus on events and developments that shaped national politics in the United States between the 1960s and the 1980s. Special attention will be given to the 2020 presidential election and any historical antecedents from the period under consideration. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
HY 406-002 (W) Alabama Memories. Professor John Giggie. TR 3:30-4:45. Sponsored by the Summersell Center for the Study of the South, this class examines the history of lynching. Working with the Equal Justice Initiative based in Montgomery, students will investigate the documented lynching in Jefferson County and construct a digital humanities website to host their research. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
HY 414 (W) Morality-Social Change –America. Professor Margaret Abruzzoc. TR 2-3:15. Description: The way Americans have thought about and explained morality changed significantly over the past three centuries. The purpose of this class is to examine the moral frameworks that have Americans have used to understand—and to change—their society. We will study Americans’ behavior, but we will also study how they thought about morality. What did it mean to be a moral person, or what counted as moral behavior at particular points in time? Why did they care about some issues rather than others? How did they try to solve their social problems. What kinds of arguments did they use? We will do this by focusing on major movements for social change. (Why, for example, did so many people support legal slavery for so long, and what motivated others to turn against it?) We will look at the way that Americans thought about issues such as slavery, animal cruelty, sex, family roles, labor, economics, war and citizenship, and civil rights. This class involves significant reading and writing. Writing proficiency within the discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
HY 430-001 (W) US-Latin America Relations. Professor Juan José Ponce-Vázquez. T 2:00-4:30. This is an advanced undergraduate research class in which students will learn the skills necessary to conduct their own original research and write a 15-20 page paper in a topic of their choosing related to the history of US-Latin American relations. Students will also develop a presentation to show their peers the work they have conducted. The course will cover step to step instruction about how to do research with primary and secondary sources, one on one advising about the project, and a encouraging environment. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
HY 430-002 (W) Fifteen Minutes: Fame, Celebrity, and Stardom in the 20th Century. Professor Holly Grout. W 2:00-4:30. What does it mean to be famous? What is a celebrity? Who gets to become a “star”? How did 20th-century Euro-American celebrity cultures emerge, grow, and influence global identity politics? Students will explore these issues and others in their own original research projects this semester. Specific areas of student research might include: business histories of movie studios, record labels, athletic teams, and fashion houses; analyses of the relationship(s) between celebrity and the mass media, or between celebrity and the public/fans, or between celebrity and the mass consumer market; examinations into the production and meaning of stardom; or projects might center on a particular aspect of modern celebrity culture. The final project will include a 15-18 page research essay based on primary source analysis and secondary source reading as well as a 20-minute in-class multimedia presentation. Additionally, students will complete readings on the practice of history and on the craft of historical writing; develop an original research topic (in conjunction with the instructor and/or university librarians); identify and analyze primary sources and secondary literature relevant to the selected topic; develop and implement a research plan; submit a variety of short assignments related to the project throughout the semester; complete a detailed outline for peer review; and complete a full essay draft for review a few weeks before the final draft is due. This seminar will meet weekly; however, several weeks will be devoted to individual meetings. NOTE: Students must earn a ‘C’ or higher to pass this class. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
HY 430-003 (W) Public History in the U.S. South. Professor Julia Brock. W 2:00-4:30. This 430 section is for History majors interested in the field of public history and who want to apply historical scholarship to public-facing projects. As part of this class, you will conduct original research, learn how to communicate historical knowledge to a broader public, and create, as a class, a stand-alone public history project, such as a digital exhibit, a walking tour, or other documentary or educational materials. You will also produce individual essays based on your research in the course. Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
HY 430-004 (W). Slavery at The University of Alabama. Professor Jenny Shaw. M 2:00-4:30. Students in this class will write a research paper on some aspect of slavery at The University of Alabama from 1831 to 1865. Enslaved people built and maintained the infrastructure of the University, they served students and professors in and out of the classroom, they cooked, cleaned, hauled water, and laundered clothing, they designed, fashioned, and repaired furnishings and equipment, using their skills and expertise to facilitate campus life. At the same time, they were subjected to discipline and violence (from both faculty and students), lived at a remove from their loved ones, and were confined by their bonded status and the racism that dictated their lives. Each student will examine the extensive sources on slavery at UA held in the Hoole Special Collections Library to identify a specific topic on which to write their paper. Additionally, students will complete readings on the practice of history and on the craft of historical writing; develop and implement a research plan; submit a variety of short assignments throughout the semester; and complete several peer reviews. The seminar meets weekly; however, several weeks will be devoted to individual meetings.
Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
HY 430-005. (W) History of Capitalism. Professor Janek Wasserman. R 2:00-4:30. “What is capitalism? Unparalleled in importance, capitalism predominates over much of the globe today. Since its inception capitalism has not only been an economic endeavor but also an intellectual challenge. Critics and boosters of capitalism have debated questions such as these: Is capitalism natural and inevitable? Is it equitable? Should it be? Does capitalism require a specific type of society and politics? Does it instill a certain type of culture and morality? This seminar introduces students to key ideas and debates about capitalism since the late 18th century. In this class, students will conduct original research on the history of capitalism. Areas of student research might include histories of: economic concepts or theories; debates about capitalism; specific commodities, corporations, industries, or economic developments; the interactions between politics, economics, culture and society under capitalism. The final project will include a 15-25 page research essay based on primary source analysis and secondary source reading as well as a 20-minute in-class multimedia presentation.
Writing proficiency within this discipline is required for a passing grade in this course.
HY 439 Foundations in Public History. Professor Julia Brock. TR 2-3:15. In this course, you will absorb readings, participate in discussions, and undertake hands-on work that will begin your engagement with the field of public history. By the end of the course, you will be familiar with major debates that engage public historians; the professional workplaces of public historians; new directions in the field; and the ways in which we accomplish our goal of working in partnership with stakeholders to make the past accessible to public audiences. Writing proficiency is required for a passing grade in this course. A student who does not write with the skill normally required of an upper-division student will not earn a passing grade, no matter how well the student performs in other areas of the course.
HY 442 The Middle Ages. Professor James Mixson. MW 3:00-4:15. This course offers a series of explorations of the cultural history of medieval Europe between the ninth and the fifteenth centuries. It is structured as a series of distinct modules, each focused on a specific set of issues. Possible topics include the Viking world and the conversion of Scandinavia; the origins, impact and legacies of the crusades; the life and legacy of St. Francis; and recent debates over the nature and impact of the Black Death and the end of the Middle Ages. These discrete units introduce students, at a reasonably high level of sophistication, both to these themes and to the main outlines of medieval history. They also introduce students to the difficult task of making sense of the primary sources of the era, and of the variety of methods and models current historians use in their research.
HY 448 Women in Europe Since 1750. Professor Holly Grout. MWF 11-11:50. This course surveys European women’s experiences from the mid-eighteenth century to the present to examine how gender informs identity construction and to discern how it mediates relationships of power. The first part of the course focuses on the creation of the domestic model, which dictated that a woman’s “natural” role was domestic and maternal. We then consider the variety of ways that women challenged this model in the realms of politics, economics, education, consumer society, and culture. In the twentieth century, we focus on women’s relationship to war, feminism, and the sexual revolution.